All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned from My Golf-Playing Cats is a 1997 collection of Ruben Bolling’s weekly Tom the Dancing Bug cartoons.
Various features have come and gone, but TDB hasn’t really changed much in the 15+ years since this came out (and that’s a very good thing). In fact, this collection of comics has more in common with the current TDB cartoons than with the first collection from 1994.
In short, TDB is funny and insightful without being mean-spirited – and always straight-faced, which is one of the fundamental reasons it works so well. There’s more political commentary here than in the first collection – Bolling’s liberal bias is obvious, but he pokes fun at everybody.
Bolling not only has clever ideas, but he gets impressive mileage out of them. Just when you think something like Sam Roland, the Detective Who Dies is getting stale, Bolling comes up with creative ways to keep it fresh. Some of the topics here are dated, like Ebonics and the young internet, but some issues are still surprisingly relevant (e.g., George H.W. Bush’s war in Iraq). And it seems to me that Louis Maltby used to be quite a bit more optimistic.
Tom the Dancing Bug is my favorite comic strip, and All I Need… is a great (if short) collection, as well as a perfectly good place for new readers to start.